PS4 launching before next Xbox is the smartest thing Sony can do
It will be very interesting to see what will happen if both of the PS4 and the next Xbox launches in the same time frame. Recent reports indicate that Sony is aiming to ship its next gen home console code-named 'Orbis' to the market before the next Xbox. While this could happen, I don't think any of them (Sony and Microsoft) will launch its next gen console much earlier than the other because both of Microsoft and Sony are fully aware that letting the competitor to launch its next gen console much earlier grants the competition a huge advantage.
Previously, Sony did the same mistake twice. Sony gave Microsoft the opportunity to lead the HD market when Sony launched its console the PS3 one year later than Microsoft's console the Xbox360. One year was more than enough for Microsoft to build up a decent fan base and convince a lot of game developers and publishers to make games for the console. Not only that, Microsoft was prepared for the launch of the competing console; Epic games released Gears of War, the first blockbuster game for the console at the same time the PS3 was about to launch.
History repeated itself. Nintendo launched the 3DS with average lineup of games, but they knew that the competition isn't arriving any time soon. Nintendo cut down the price of the 3DS and with the release of some great games such as Mario 3D, the 3DS saw a huge surge in sales worldwide. And guess what? Sony was months away from releasing its handheld device, the PS Vita.
If Sony is really planning to release its next gen console before or at the same time the next Xbox comes out, then, it will be the first time in a long time that Sony is doing something very smart. Microsoft will lose the very important factor of being first to the market and it will be all about who will have the better lineup of games. If you were following the latest gaming news recently, you most probably noticed how many studios are currently working on games for next gen consoles. I'm expecting the launch titles for both consoles to be amazing and we will probably have the best launch lineups in gaming history.
Sony has many great first party studios and they should take advantage of that. It's very essential for Sony to not arrive at the party too late this time. Sony should not miss this opportunity and they should come loaded with great games at launch.